Slow Burn: THE WITCH (2016) Review

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When a family is banished from their village, they seek home on a farm next to an ominous wood. No sooner than the family has nestled into their new home that things start going wrong. A dark presence inhabits the woods and begins to prey on the family. Witch craft and black magic eventually begin to test the family’s faith and their familial ties.

This independent horror film is one that I will start out by saying is NOT for modern audiences who are looking for jump scares in order for it to be scary. Not only this but it is also for only hard core horror fans who will understand and appreciate it. Never before has a horror film left me feeling so shaken and uneasy after seeing it. Does this mean I found it terrifyingly scary? No. But it succeeds in doing what most horror films fail to do, and that is get into your mind and shake you to the core. It’s the most effecting slow-burn I’ve seen. Within the first 20 minutes I found myself in shock, and it gave a picture of what to expect. There is very little blood in this film, so it doesn’t try to use “gore” to be scary either. With this film it literally stirs up your mind with fear and terror that leaves it up to the viewer to think of things that are unseen. And it works. The things that went through my mind were more terrifying than anything they could have showed. What also gives a strong boost of fear is the highly effective use of sound (no jump scares), along with its beautiful and haunting cinematography. This also plays a part in getting under your skin. The terror aside, it has an amazing build up of watching this family gradually turn to shambles in terms of their bond and their mentality. This is thanks to stellar performances by its cast, particularly Anya Taylor-Joy as the teen daughter whom we follow for most of the film. She’s an actress who uses subtlety to her advantage and then really sells it when she lets her emotions out.

What I did feel the film lacked was a connection to the family, I honestly felt nothing for them except for Taylor-Joy’s character and the baby. There were also moments where I felt there were things missing that would have helped boost the story in terms of exposition and understand the world the characters live in. In general it wasn’t the most “original” story by any means either, but it takes the familiarity of the story does something different.

The Witch is an uneasy and chilling film that gets under your skin and into your mind and seeks to stay with you after it’s over. Never before will you experience such fear enter your mind such as this. I cannot express enough how much more horrific the film is when you really let your mind take control into the unknown.

–Cody Landman

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Arrow Video Blu-ray Review: “Deep Red” (1975)

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Arrow Video has a habit of knocking releases of Deep Red out of the park. Six years ago Arrow released one of, if not the definitive edition of Deep Red, only to be beat by yet another amazing Arrow Release.

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The special features between the two editions are almost the same, but the new edition comes with a beautiful new transfer from a 4K master, and a visual essay, analyzing Deep Red with a short comparison between Deep Red, and Argento’s earlier giallo The Bird with The Crystal Plumage.

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This set is a 3 disk (2 blu ray 1 CD soundtrack) set, featuring the directors cut, the much shorter export cut, and a CD soundtrack. It also comes with an awesome double sided posted featuring two original arts, and 6 original lobby cards, and a fairly large booklet.

If you weren’t one of the lucky people to score a copy of this new set, I believe Arrow is planning a non-limited edition later this year.

Overall, I would rate this set 4 1/2 out of 5 stars. I only wish we could have gotten more new features. That being said, I completely understand why they might not have been able to.

–Alex Aspin

Follow Alex on Instagram for an extra dose of slasher and giallo goodness!

Stay Out of These Woods: Cabin Fever (2016) Review [Remake]

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A group of friends go away on a camping trip in the woods and stay in a remote cabin. The locals immediately weird the group out but also warning them that people who have gone into the woods have gotten ill. Brushing off their advice, the friends continue on. Things start out fine, but when a stranger appears with a flesh-eating virus, it isn’t long before the friends start catching it themselves.

This remake of the Eli Roth film (from way back in 2002), is based off of the exact same script. No joke. Everything plays out exactly the same way except for a few circumstantial changes, the last scene, and an unnecessary scene in the credits. Oh and Officer Winston is now a female who resembles a porn star and is pretty much a lesbian. In general this is just a very piss poor movie altogether. The acting is purely awful, with the actors clearly trying way too hard to “act”. Along with this, the characters have zero substance or any particular qualities that make them unique. Thus resulting in us not caring about them at all. It’s not even that they’re unlikable. (except for maybe Bert, who is just straight up annoying), it’s just that there is nothing to them worth caring about.

On top of this, there is zero tension or suspense, there is an attempt to do this with the music, but it is so laughably cheesy. The gore effects range from awful to mediocre, some of the prosthetics involved are so damn obvious it seems like they weren’t even trying. The one thing I will give this is that it was decently-filmed. So in this respect it’s clear where a lot of the money went towards with this film. It also takes itself way too seriously, whereas the original perfectly captured the terror while adding some good dark comedy.

Not only is this one of the worst horror films I’ve seen in my life, but it is hands down the worst remake I’ve seen. Horrible acting, poorly-written characters, bad music, and extremely cheap effects makes you wonder just what the hell they were thinking remaking such a good cult classic. Most remakes at least try to be better than its predecessor, but this doesn’t try at all. If anything this is more of a cheap fan remake that is best left unseen.

–Cody Landman

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Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Troy Escamilla (PARTY NIGHT)

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On a brand new episode of Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, our hosts Kevin Sommerfield & Andrew Beirl will be chatting with writer Troy Escamilla about his brand new slasher feature PARTY NIGHT. Slasher Studios is coproducing this film and it’s sure to be a hell of a good time! The gory fun begins Thursday night at 10PM central.

Become a PARTY NIGHT backer today and help be a part of the slasher goodness:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1488629688/party-night

To listen to the podcast or check out an archive:
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/slasherstudios/2016/02/12/slasher-studios-horror-podcast-troy-escamilla-party-night

A Slashing Surprise: SNEEKWEEK (2016) Review

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First off I want to apologize for the extreme delay of this review. Two weeks ago I watched the Dutch horror/slasher “Sneekweek (2016)” in theaters with my sister. I was anticipating the release of this movie for a long time. Mainly because Dutch slashers are a rarity these days and only a handful of them are being made every decade. The trailer for Sneekweek looked promising and exciting, but at the same time it felt like I had just seen the entire movie. With no high expectations I went on to see it and I have to say that it was SO MUCH better than I expected! As it turns out the trailer didn’t reveal many important plot points and the fate of some characters. It’s I Know What You Did Last Summer meets Scream in the best possible way and that results in an awesome whodunit.

The cast is super good looking and the actors do the best they can with the material they’re given. The standouts to me were: Carolien Spoor, Jord Knotter, Holly Brood, Marly van der Velden, Sanne Langelaar, David Lucieer and Jelle De Jong. I love how bad-ass the characters were, to the point where they had to fight hard for survival. The kills were graphic and surprisingly innovative. The murder weapons that were used in the movie are really inventive. Sneekweek has a running time close to 2 hours – which is a little longer than usual for slashers, but you can clearly see that it worked as a mood setter and I honestly wasn’t bored for a second throughout the movie. This movie features quite some winks and homages to Scream and I Know What You Did Last Summer and it’s evident that the director is very passionate about the genre. This movie scores high on the laughs and scares. The murder mystery is well crafted and at some point every character could’ve been the killer. The soundtrack is stylish and features lots of popular songs. The camerawork and cinematography in this movie are nothing but superb. The final act is exciting and satisfying at the same time and that’s when the shit literally hits the fan with the twists and turns. This movie doesn’t hold back on the (male) nudity, which is always a good thing with these type of movies.

Most critics panned Sneekweek and I was expecting nothing more than a campy guilty pleasure, but I was in awe by how much I ended up loving it! Is it perfect? No. Does it require a lot of thinking? No. Did I have a fun time while watching it? HELL YES! It easily became my favorite Dutch slasher and I suggest every horror/slasher fan to seek it out give it a view, but be sure to keep your expectations low. Hope to see it in theaters one more time before I purchase the Blu-ray. I could watch it over and over again. A future classic!


–Ferdi Akkulak

Slasher Studios Exclusive: DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS VHS Now Shipping

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We have some exciting news, Dismembering Christmas friends. Our limited edition VHS release has shipped and they are ready for a good slasher home. Only 50 of these beautiful, white box hardshell VHS tapes are being released and once they are gone, they are gone forever. Pick up your VHS below before they are gone forever. Also available in combo packs featuring a DVD of the film or a DVD & soundtrack. Pick up yours today!

Note: If you would like to request a custom number on your VHS (each one is hand printed), leave a note with your paypal payment. We cannot guarantee any numbers but we will do our best!


Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Instagram Horror Challenge (The Final Chapter)

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On this week’s Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, we went over the final ten days of our Slasher Studios Instagram Horror Challenge so make sure to listen to an archive through the link below. It’s a bloody good time and thank you to everyonw who was a part of it!!

Follow us: https://www.instagram.com/slasherstudios/

To listen to an archive: Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Instagram Horror Challenge (The Final Chapter)

Creating a Killer: Motives In Horror Movies

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In most slasher films there is always that moment in the end when the killer and their motive is revealed. From there comes a very lengthy, dialogue-filled scene between the killer and the final victim. As an audience we sit and wait for them to shut up and get on to the big fight between our final girl/guy and the killer. But then there are also times when you ask yourself why after almost 90 minutes, the killer finally has the main target in their clutches, and instead of finally killing them, they talk their ear off, giving the victim the chance to escape. This leads me to the question of whether Scream actually got it right in its discussion of motives. Was Billy right when he said it’s a lot scarier when there isn’t a motive? Or do the “incidental” motives that Randy speaks of earlier in the film something that adds to it? Keep in mind that films mentioned here are not necessarily bad, this is purely on the topic of motives.

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Throughout the history of slasher films, there have been numerous ones that do have a motive and some that don’t. With Friday the 13th, Nightmare on Elm Street, Happy Birthday To Me, I Know What You Did Last Summer, Urban Legend, Scream, etc. These films all had killers who had a particular motive for why they are on this killing spree. More often than not, the motive for killers in slashers are always due to revenge. This fact in itself makes motives very tiring and adds nothing new. Even Halloween, which initially had no motive for Michael’s killings, changed in the sequels and gave Michael a motivation to kill, even though to the series’ credit, the motive here was different. I believe that this motive is used most often is because it helps incorporate the twist of who the killer is. And granted sometimes it works, I’m not going to lie, I didn’t see the identity of the killer in Urban Legend coming at all, same with a lot of the reveals in Scream. They were most definitely shocking, but they were all seeking revenge in some form. When there isn’t the revenge motive, there is also the motives that are just plain stupid. Examples being Urban Legends: Final Cut, Sorority Row (even though I loved this one), Bloody Homecoming where the killer wants to take credit for another person’s film project, the killer is doing it “for his girlfriend”, or the much older gym coach wants revenge for the death of the student she was screwing (yes, it’s revenge but it is still stupid). With all of this said, motives can make or break the final act, or even slow it down.

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If there isn’t a motive to the killer, we just have a straight-up psychopath. Such psychopaths are mentioned in Scream like Norman Bates, no clear cut motive here because he was just a psycho, or Hannibal Lecter, no real motive here either. As mentioned above, the original Halloween didn’t have a motive for Michael Myers, he simply returned home and began stalking these young women. Black Christmas is also a perfect example with Billy murdering the unsuspecting sorority sisters for no real reason. Even the delightfully bad Slumber Party Massacre featured a killer who had no motive for his killings. Some could say that even Jason in the Friday the 13th sequels had no real motive after murdering Alice in the opening of 2. The idea of a psychopath stalking people and murdering them is chilling and makes you very wary and wanting to lock up your house. But does this also leave the viewer wanting more? I have no doubt in my mind that there are people who will get pissy if a killer doesn’t have a motive and they think “that’s it”? Or maybe it could just seem repetitive for some. Even as I wrote those examples, it was semi-amusing that I was writing the same thing for each title. They’re just a psychopath.

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Now of course this is all going to depend on the viewer and what they prefer to see in a slasher film and what effects them. But looking at the bigger picture, the question remains, is it scarier or more appealing to have a motive and the killer is someone they know, or scarier to have a person unknown to them stalking and killing people around them? Both can also have their flaws, but is there a concrete and agreeable answer as to which is much more terrifying?


–Cody Landman

Season of Slashing Special: FREE DISMEMBERING CHRISTMAS Poster With Any Purchase

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For the month of February we’ve decided to celebrate the love here at Slasher Studios! What does that mean for the slasher fans? We are giving away a free 11×17 Dismembering Christmas to everyone who orders through the Slasher Studios website this month! Want your movie or poster signed? Simply leave a note along with your paypal order and we could be happy to sign them for you. Have a killer month everyone!!

To purchase Dismembering Christmas:
VHSART-Edited


Dismembering Christmas VHS Options




DVD cover


Dismembering Christmas DVD




Don’t forget to also pick up a Dismembering Christmas Limited Edition Tee!
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Artwork by the awesome Garreth Gibson Illustrations.


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Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Instagram Challenge (Part 2)

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Are you ready for part two of the brand new Horror Challenge and are you also on Instagram? Make sure to use the hashtag #slasherstudioshorrorchallenge during the month of January to participate. Make sure to also follow us so you can see all of our bloody picks! It’s never too late to start and we’ve been receiving some fantastic picks so far! On this week’s Slasher Studios Horror Podcast, we went over the days 11-18 of the challenge so make sure to listen to an archive through the link below.

Slasher Studios Horror Podcast: Instagram Horror Challenge (Part 2)